Now that we’ve talked about why finding a longer term / smaller footprint home for the adjudicated section of FringeNYC is our goal, we wanted to discuss some of what we could potentially offer our venue partners / hosts. We know our new venue neighborhood or multiplex will need incentives, particularly for providing a home during October (when they are more likely to find rentals and / or be doing their own shows as a part of their season). And unfortunately, although we will certainly still pay a rental fee – we won’t be able to pay them double our usual fee or anything like that. Keep in mind we are doing a SMALLER festival, so we’ll already need to build a new funding model.
So here’s some of what we came up with in initial brainstorming about what we might offer our new venue home:
VENUE POOL PARTICIPATION – When we produced the First Annual New York International Fringe Festival in 1997, we operated entirely on earned income. Collectively, each of our $315 (I think that’s right. . . ) participation fees (along with a $5,000 NYSCA pass-through grant from ART/NY) added up to $74,000. So in order to secure venues, we put $1 from every ticket sold across the entire festival into a pot, and each of our venues got a share. Not a proportionate / based on size share, and not a share of only the tickets sold at their venue. There were 21 venues that year, so they each got 1/21th (twenty oneth?) of that pool. Back then, that was particularly brave of them (keep in mind we’d never done a fringe festival before, and we weren’t sure anyone would show up). These days, though, we can count on selling SOME tickets. And it’d be nice to have a venue home that was invested in our success as a community.
PROMOTION OF THE VENUE’S SHOWS – Throughout the year, many venues and producers would like to reach our audience to promote their shows. Eblasts, mailing list access, and our Amazonification (i.e. “if you liked this show, you’ll like this one” via the Find Your FringeNYC Quiz) could all be shared with our home venues.
PERCENTAGE OF SPONSORSHIP MONEY – It is very difficult to obtain sponsorships without knowing two years out where we’ll be and what we’re doing. Sponsors want a big gathering area – and we do, too, but in NYC that requires a street closure permit or large private outdoor space. Street closure permit applications are due a year in advance – and difficult to obtain (particularly for multi-day requests). If our venue home helps make a large gathering area possible, and allows us to lock in that location for three to five years – then that would perhaps make us more attractive to sponsors. So maybe our new long-term venue home should see financial benefit from those sponsorships as well!
VENUE SHOWS – In the first year (or two?) of the festival, our venue partners each got to put a “venue show” in the festival. If we’re going to be doing FringeNYC in October in one long-term venue home, then perhaps their October show could be part of the festival, as well. We’re often asked throughout the year to promote their season shows to our audience – why not introduce them to the kind of work that the venue home does as a part of FringeNYC? It’d be a great opportunity to brand the venue with our most loyal audience members and to build relationships under the “halo” of the festival.
CAREFUL SCHEDULING – We could, potentially, perform around their subscription show’s schedule in October. At least in 2018, if it made it possible to lock down a venue home neighborhood / multi-plex for three to five years. Perhaps their subscribers would receive special discounts to FringeNYC shows, too. And vice versa? Maybe our FringeNYC audience would want to purchase discounted single tickets to their subscription show.
Over the past decade, it seems to be the big brother and big sister theatres around town that want access to and a connection to our audience – and to our artists, as well. This would be a great way to show support of the next generation of makers.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – We will only have ONE Manhattan venue home for the adjudicated section of FringeNYC – either a multi-plex or venues all on one block, etc. The BYOV (or VBYOA) section of the festival will ONLY be in boroughs other than Manhattan. So our new venue home becomes the defacto center of the indie universe during FringeNYC / Indie Theatre Week and all that FringeNYC 20/20 entails.
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